3 Examples of Social Entrepreneurship in Education

Growing up, my mum drilled it into me that education was important. In hindsight, I appreciate her efforts because it helped me learn new things and become the man I am today. So because education is important in the lives of children, today let’s look at 3 examples of education-related social entrepreneurship and the successful entrepreneurs who started them:

1. Social Entrepreneurship in Education at Mycelium School

Atlas, it's time for your bath [Photo by woodleywonderworks] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Mycelium school, planned for Asheville, NC, will incorporate social entrepreneurship in education in an innovative way. The school will use hands-on learning, community service and a social entrepreneurship-based curriculum to help students build self-reliance and confidence.

CEO and founder Matt Abrams says that he school is designed as a meeting place for people around the world who want to realize change in their local communities. The school is named after the vegetative part of a fungus, the mycelium, through which it absorbs nutrients from the environment as it grows.

This also describes the model of learning at the school, where students can come together and give to their environment and each other, while learning skills and nurturing their own personal growth. Other ecological concepts, such as diversity, integration and systems-thinking, will serve as a backbone for the new school model.

2. Social Entrepreneurship in Education in India

Dr. Madhav Chavan, CEO of Pratham and a 2011 Skoll Award recipient, heads the largest NGO working to provide quality education to underprivileged children in India. Chavan’s application of social entrepreneurship in education began in 1994, when Pratham was established to provide education to the children in the slums of Mumbai.

The organization has grown in scope and geography since that time, and today it’s transforming India’s approach to children’s literacy and education. Chavan’s unwavering insistence on universal education and his work to engage community volunteers has already reached over 34 million children, and offers a proven model that can work anywhere in the world.

The original thought that led to the formation of Pratham came from UNICEF in Mumbai. They set up the Bombay Education Initiative to create a partnership between government, business, and civil society to address the gap of primary education in Mumbai.

3. Social Entrepreneurship in Education Book

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia [Photo by One Laptop per Child] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The book Social Entrepreneurship in Education: Private Ventures for the Public Good (New Frontiers in Education) by Michael R. Sandler, chronicles the 25 year history of entrepreneurs who have helped to launch a for-profit education industry in the US.

It tells the story of these education pioneers and the lessons they have learned along the way, as they used entrepreneurial skills to tackle the public problems of a failing educational system and improve outcomes for millions of students.

The book demonstrates through many case studies the importance of mentorship and the profiles of individuals behind the businesses. By highlighting the skills and characteristics they share to successfully execute and operate social enterprises in education, it reflects on the development of a rapidly growing industry and points to new possibilities for applying private-sector concepts to education. The book is a must-read for those who want to become successful entrepreneurs and understand the use of social enterprise to improve American education.